The First ever African Fashion Week Chicago took place this past weekend; september 26th – 27th. It was a two day event filled with fashion, music, art and a great time. I attended both days and I must say I found this experience very rewarding, not only was it a good opportunity to network with industry professionals and fashion enthusiasts, it was also refreshing to enjoy an art exhibition from Chicago based artist Solomon Adufa and Ben Olafemi Kayede, the two great artists collaborated on an artwork that was later put on silent auction during the fashion show. Day one kicked of with Singer-songwriter Nola Ade performing a soulful song and ended with lovely African inspired designs such as Wanda Grace and Maryam Garba LLC.
Day two of African Fashion week Chicago was even bigger and more exciting. I was glad to see a lot of familiar faces; People actually came out to support and be a part of a good thing. The designers such as 828 Collection, Akese Style lines, Yasika Mode, House of Leigh, and Issa Sorogo showcased their designs with lovely afrobeat music playing. I loved the style of the runway it wasn’t your typical straight stage or T- stage, it was more of a U shaped runway, where the models actually went all around making it possible for everyone to get a good view of the garment.
“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!” ~Theodore Roosevelt
As you all may know I am currently doing the whole “work hard and pursue your dream” thing. A year ago when I first launched ZurikGirl I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had no experience in Retail or maintaining an online clothing store , plus I didn’t exactly have the confidence to market and start running a business. Might sound crazy, right? cause most people look at me from afar as this Well rounded outgoinging, bold and confident young lady; but in reality everyone have their fears and doubts and back then mine was about 60% fear and 40% confidence. Glad to say even though my fear outweighed my confidence at that time I still went for it.
The support I’ve gotten from my friends, family and even strangers have been my fuel and drive. There have also been the doubters; since I started people have rejected, criticized, and worse even laughed at me…. oh just another IG boutique….. oh shes selling her own clothes….. oh everybody and anyone can open an online store….. People generally never understood what I was doing—what I was trying to do. I graduated from Eastern Illinois University December 2012 with a BA in Hospitality/Business Management, May 1st 2013 I launched ZurikGirl. I know my vision for ZG,and how big it is. I know exactly what I want for ZG, but what people dont know is that you have to START, and DO to get there. It is more than just a website to me, not a day goes by without me thinking or doing something ZG related. There have been more downs than ups and more struggles than fun. I’ve cried over ZG so many times, cried over things not going my way or happening for me but still I DO!
‘Whats there to do”
I happily work full time for ZG on a daily basis I have to creative deliverables, Initiate pricing comparisons and budget parameters for new creative initiatives,constantly seek out efficiencies and improvements in day-to-day workflow, prepare advertising strategies such as lookbook, banners, and flyers, Style and coordinate new inventory photo shoot, create extensive research methods to increase sale, Manage website and Social Media Platforms, Ship out packages and so much more in between.
“What is she feeling like …oh she thinks she’s a designer now”
NO! NO! I do not think I am a designer now, if anything I am a seamstress first, because most of the time I don’t sketch out my ideas out before sewing it, I just sew them. Even though you do not have to go to school to be creative I do not want to be confused as a “designer” you can keep that title, I do not care for that title, I am already a QUEEN and a BUSINESS WOMAN thats enough and all the title I need lol. I want everyone to look at ZG as a company, like the likes of ZARA, ALDO, FOREVER21…. Just to name a few. you won’t consider Aldo Bensadoun a designer would you? When I started ZG I knew I wanted to sell as a retailer so I did that, registered my business, and got my IL business Authorization; as ZG picked up more ideas came along, I wanted to have my own label. I got my sewing machine summer of 2011, after watching numerous youtube videos I randomly went to my mom and told her I could sew and I needed a sewing machine, surprisingly she took me serious I’m guessing because, she expected that from me I’ve always been the creative one in the family. I didn’t fully make use of my machine till this summer after I took 4 months of sewing class and learned all the basic sewing techniques and also practised with youtube. I can tell you now it doesn’t take 4 months to learn how to sew it takes practice!! a whole lot of practise. Me learning and being able to sew is just an addition for my success and future success, I am able to easily make my prototype, I can test out sample styles on myself before I do a wholesale production, I can alter my clothes or even add to it. So….. should I be sorry that I can sew?? should I be sorry that I love being creative?? I THINK NOT!!
ZURIK BY ZURIKGIRL
Like I said having my own label, as you can go to a ZARA store and pick up an item made and labeled ZARA. that is my 3-5 year goal plan. ZURIK by zurikgirl happened because of my drive and hard work of my manager Ajie (Ira management).
Sponsored from personal money and profit from one year of ZG sales, I took it upon myself to test out the waters before I dive into making the real deal happen. I wanted to see what it takes to find production, materials, marketing and promotions all that good stuff that comes with it. ZURIK by ZurikGirl was done on a very small scale sadly some of my sketches didn’t make the cut because of so many reasons.
Overall for the few that did make it to ZURIK by zurikgirl, the response from customers was good, as to how our ZG SIP & SHOP event came about. I am thankful for the friends and strangers (now customers) that actually came out and shopped. I will say this one time as a small business its better to have “SOLD OUT” than to have unsold inventories stocked up trust me. I usually hate when I go to online stores and I see SOLD OUT but I got a sense of happiness and joy putting that on some of ZURIK by ZurikGirl items.
I don’t plan on STOPPING anytime soon, according to chichi and my ZG Timeline its going to be a ZG YEAR!..over! and over! again! AMEN!!!! OYA say AMEN!!! AAMEN!!! :). My short term goal is to build a larger customer base, converting single customers into multiple customers, Increase visible exposure, I need people to see ZurikGirl and think Fashion; brand recognition is powerful and we live in a visual world, I need to capitalize on visual exposure at every possible opportunity. I live in Chicago one of the biggest city in America. Everything I have been doing I need to Triple on it!! I need to get out there and expose ZurikGirl to the world, fashion trade fare, fashion expos, fashion events, fashion shows, vendor shows, there is no time to relax. My long term goal is to power ZG as a brand, starting now to look for the right investors and partnership that believe in me and what I have to offer.
At the end of the day I am happy with how far I’ve come but I can’t get comfortable, I have more work to do. Whether people believe in me or support me enough I will keep pushing. Its not about starting a clothing store or business anymore because honestly we see a new store pop up on IG daily! its the matter of who will survive, who will come out on top!! My love for ZG is one of the most important things in my life right now….. and it feels good to know that all I have to do is Pray, work hard and follow my heart.
in the words of the Lovely lady JOOF *kisses & boobs*
When I was younger, the idea of my older sister getting married and moving out seemed like…well, the worst idea ever; and when it actually happened it was something hard to swallow. I am very close to all my sisters, and extremely similar and extremely different as only sisters can be. I knew that whenever she moved out, I’d finally move into her room which I wanted so bad! infact for a while that was the only thing keeping me from feeling sad when I thought about her leaving. The thought of life without her around seemed not just terrible, but simply impossible. I couldn’t Imagine life without her around…… and the day finally came! first up her traditional wedding.
When she was sixteen, she and my (now) brother-in-law started dating. When she was twenty six, he got down on one knee one beautiful evening on our trip to Lagos in December and asked her to be his wife. One year later, we all took that yearly december trip to Lagos, Nigeria and after all of my agonizing anticipation, the day finally arrived. I was a bridesmaid!!! another excitement that kept away the thoughts of my sister leaving. It was my very first time and I was so honored for it to be for my sisters wedding. Her traditional wedding was beyond beautiful, I watched my sister marry the love of her life in my fathers first compound in Imo state Owerri; Dikenafia Village. With a happy smile she carried her cup of palm wine and danced softly in search of her husband. It was such a happy day, never seen my dad smile all day but that day he was smiling from ear to ear.
I’m almost certain I cried more than anyone else after the church wedding, but the thing is — it wasn’t because I was sad. Yes, there was the pain that comes with waving good-bye to a good chapter in one’s life, but it was more tears of awwww look at my sister finally its happening for her; after over ten years relationship, long distance and all the other obstacles, it finally happened! they got married.
The wedding planning phase was intense, and YES my sister was a bridezilla lol, if she wants a particular thing it is in your best interest to get her that exact thing. Shout Out to her wedding planner she did a good job and did it gracefully.
Since I was on the internal side on planning my sisters wedding , I inevitably have a few ideas of do’s and don’ts by default for my own wedding. Overall My sisters big day was everything and more, most beautiful bride till date. My sisters wedding was so much fun, I wont be able to upload all her pictuers but these are a few best moments for me personally. her full wedding album will be going to her wedding website.
I have also learned to be okay with the occasional sting of loneliness. I know that if I need one-on-one “sister time” I can just ask for it. Besides, some things never change. My sister would drop everything in a heartbeat if I need her. What more does a girl need?
WEDDING OVER LOAD! FOR A GIRL THAT DOESN’T LIKE WEDDINGS I HAVE BEEN TO THREE WEDDINGS BACK TO BACK. TWO WEEKS AGO I WENT TO MICHIGAN WITH MY SISTERS FOR A CLOSE FRIEND OLDER BROTHER’S WEDDING. I ALSO HELPED IN DISTRIBUTING FABRIC FOR THE BRIDAL TRAIN (ASOEBI), SO IT MADE PLENTY SENSE TO ATTEND THE WEDDING EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ALL THE WAY IN MICHIGAN.
FRIDAY NIGHT WAS THE TRADITIONAL.
SILK TIE & BLOUSE I MADE FOR MYSELF AND MY SISTER… P.S I HATE THIS LOOK NOW! THIS IS MY LAST OF IT!
FOR THE WHITE WEDDING I WAS COMFORTABLE IN MY MAXI AND HEELS.
THE NIGHT LIFE IN MICHIGAN WAS PRETTY WACK!! 😦 LITERALLY IT WAS BLAH!!!!!!!!!!! NOT LIKE I WAS EXPECTING ANYTHING GRAND.
THIS PAST WEEKEND.
FRIDAY AFTER WORK I WENT DOWNTOWN CHICAGO TO A NETWORKING EVENT HOSTED BY N.A.P.A (NIGERIAN AMERICAN PROFESSIONALS ASSOCIATION) I WENT WITH A PURSE FULL OF BUSINESS CARDS, A POSITIVE ATTITUDE AND READY TO INTERACT. IT WAS A NICE TURN OUT, SAW SOME FAMILIAR FACES, INTRODUCED MYSELF AND ZG TO NEW FACES, MADE SOME POTENTIAL PR MOVES…. OVERALL IT WAS WORTH MY TIME AND GOING.
MET UP WITH MYLADIES AT RSVP LOUNGE AFTERWARDS
AFTER DOING SOME ZURIKGIRL WORK, I AND MY SISTERS WENT DOWNTOWN FOR FATHERS DAY SHOPPING /DRINKS WITH FRIENDS.
THIS WHOLE WEEKEND MY LIPS WERE GLOSSY, I HAD EVERYONE SAYING “YOUR LIP-GLOSS IS POPPING” LOL. I LOVED IT!
SO I MADE THIS “CHICHI” RULE THAT I MUST WEAR SOMETHING SHORT EVERY WEEKEND. PLEASE ASK ME WHY?? HMMM WELL BECAUSE ITS SUMMER!!!!! CHICAGO WINTER HAVE SHOWED US PEPPER, PLEASE ALL I WANT TO DO THIS SUMMER IS WEAR SHORT SHORTS AND DRINK SMOOTHIES.
QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT!!! IF YOU ARE IN CHICAGO SAVE THE DATE!!! JULY 19TH!! COME SIP, SHOP & SOCIALIZE WITH ZURIKGIRL AND OTHER LOCAL BRANDS. FREE ADMISSION!! DRINKS, AND LIGHT APPETIZERS FOR ALL!! SO COME EARLY AND READY TO SHOP AND MINGLE
I am clearly going to be posting more often on my blog because I figured out how to make my iphone pics more worthy. I seriously cannot remember to take my canon with me at all times, I mean I can barely remember to wear earrings after dressing up (I hate it when I forget to wear earrings… worst feeling ever!!!) not to even talk about bringing my canon with me every time I go out. ANYWAYS, moving along… this past weekend was pretty good; started my Friday at the mall, no I wasn’t shopping I can tell you now I am more of an online shopper, I literally buy everything online… Hair, clothes, shoes, electronics, Gbo Gbo EGbo I buy them online. I ended my FRIDAY at a friends House Party, I think we were celebrating his new job and some other great accomplishments… lol well it was a party sha and I was there with my hookah. God save me this summer cause this hookah thing I will OD on it, we all know too much of anything is not good for you.
SATURDAY was another wedding day, and I decided to make my wedding outfit. Along with a whole lot of girls in the world I am obsessed with FLORAL PRINT! and yes I did put a crown on there just to emphasis on floral being King in all SS14 trend. I try to buy Fabrics that come in wholesale quantity and re-sellers price because I just don’t do it for myself but also for zurikgirl. This Summer ZG will be testing the waters on our own lable ZURIK by zurikgirl. Just a few designs and items will be available coming soon this June at zurikgirl.
I was a little discouraged when I laid it on my bed and it almost looked like my bed-sheets.
Then I got done with my skirt and it looked good.
AFTER I WAS DONE I LOVED IT! EVEN WITHOUT TRYING IT ON!
SATURDAY GETTING READY TO ATTEND THE WEDDING
If you really know me, you would know I am not a fan of Makeup, for me to be a girlie girl I really hate putting makeup on my face unless I need it. It doesn’t help that today its all about contouring of the face and heavy eyebrows; good thing my eyebrows are not thin and I am content with just the regular way of applying makeup until the occasion permits and I have a professional MUA to contour my face to the GODS.
Showing you my face because my sister Yewande is into makeup and she did my sharp smokey eye! which I loved. For all my ZG photo shoots she handles the makeup department and I am very grateful for her.
I did my Lashes myself and well…. I tired lol
SUNDAY CHURCH OUTFIT. I TRIED THIS MIXING PRINT THING AND IT LOOKED GOOD. DIFFERENT SNAKE PRINTS AND COLOR.
AFTER BRUNCH WITH THE FAMILY, I MET UP WITH ONE OF MY GOOD FRIENDS DUPE, SHE’S BEEN TELLING ME ABOUT THIS AMAZING!!!!!!!!! HIDDEN WHOLESALE FABRIC STORE FOREVER!!. BEING THAT THE STORE OWNERS ARE JEWISH, THEY HAVE THE MOST RANDOM STORE HOURS, CLOSED ON SATURDAYS AND OPEN ON SUNDAYS TILL 4PM. OF COURSE AFTER MISSING OUR EXIT AND TURNS A COUPLE OF TIMES WE FINALLY MADE IT TO THE STORE AND HAD ONLY 30 MINUTES TO LOOK AROUND 😦
I FOUND THIS IMPRINT ORGANZA FABRIC AND LOVED IT!!!!
I WILL DEFINITELY BE GOING BACK TO LOOK AROUND! THE STORE IS HUMONGOUS!! AND 30 MINUTES FELT LIKE ONLY 2 MINUTES!
Today we celebrate our very first ZG birthday (Anniversary) and I am still not quite sure I can believe it’s here already, in a funny way it feels like only yesterday that Myself and my sisters were sitting, all gathered in my room gisting and just dropping out plans, goals, ideas, dreams…..
One year later, ZurikGirl have been doing outstanding for a start-up business, I mean it’s been an incredible feeling!! Progression is our biggest motivation!! Everyday it gets better and everyday We want better for ZG. We have been working hard, some of which you can see through the quality clothes and consistency we provide, some we can’t tell you about, many you’ll be seeing very soon. This summer is going to be a breakthrough of greatness, a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
From me (chichi)personally, this seems like an appropriate moment to say a huge thank you to our incredible ZGAdmin, (ajie attiawa, Brittney Livingston and Aminvat vixama) our wonderful ZG customers, My lovely ZG sisters especially ADANNA, she was and is the start and head of ZURIKGIRL, without her push and guidance I wont be here. Also a big Thank you to the huge loving local and international community for your continued love and support.
Yes We’ve got some exciting announcements and collaborations planned for year two and I can’t wait to share them with everyone and anyone willing to support us.
Zurikgirl is relentless!! The possibilities are endless!!
Mean While Enjoy 50% OFF ON SELECT ITEMS!! at zurikgirl.com